Handicapping: Mr. Muckraker, Ms. COO, Ms. IntelOfficer, Mr. Natl Guard, Mr. Entrepreneur, Ms. Chem Engineer, Ms. Teacher, Mr. Pilot

sales guy

Mr. University


  • 750 GMAT (47Q/48V)
  • 3.4 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in psychology from a top 40 liberal arts college
  • Work experience includes one and one-half years as a business analyst at a large public university, working in operations, inventory management and budget planning; gained promotion to that job after nine months in a lower position at the university; a year in custoemr service at a bank
  • “I graduated peak-recession, stitched together several part-time, take-anything-I-can-get jobs and volunteer positions for two years”
  • Goal: To transition into Big Three consulting or similar, with long-term objective of running his own strategy/operations consulting practice working for state/local governments and nonprofits
  • “I have no name-brand corporate experience and I’m also afraid that the first two to three years of my work experience will be looked upon unfavorably. I have also attended a few pre-MBA networking events and got a couple of “hmm, interesting choices…” from alumni who asked which schools I am applying to (what’s so “interesting” about my choices!?)”
  • 27-year-old white male from rural working class background

    Odds of Success:

    Dartmouth: 20% to 30%

    Cornell: 30% to 40%

    Duke: 30%

    Virginia: 30% to 40%

    Michigan: 30% to 40%

    Sandy’s Analysis: You could become case 2387 on this board in the file called: SAVED BY THE GMATs. But in your case, execution of basics really counts. You need to explain both [in order of importance]:

    1. What you do at the state university you work for. Explain the size of the operation, the budget, the number of employees, and how you interact with the school’s leadership and what exactly your duties are. A state university is not a typical feeder organization for applicants to your target schools but given size and scope of the university and your job it could be. My guess is, the biggest thing against State U as a feeder is that it is not selective, and typical folks who work there in admin are slap-happy locals or trailing spouses (often the same person after a while, especially after prime spouse marries a grad student and both move away leaving Spouse #1 as the terror of the comptroller’s office).

    Well, you need to show that ain’t you.

    2. You need to explain in some more than average way how your rural upbringing and yadda yadda impacted your early academic performance and how the recession your impacted job choices.

    As often noted here, adcoms will sometimes blink once but not twice. That means adcoms will not blink at both your low-ish GPA and outlier work history.

    But that 750 GMAT may buy you a second blink, just make sure you make it easy for them. The response you are getting at alumni forums is, as you seem to know, code for ‘WHAAAA?’

    You need to learn how to preempt that by saying, “I’ve had some jumps, but I’m in a great place now doing strategic planning at State U. . . .”

    More importantly, make that case in your application, using official app talk. Your target schools are a little open to likable guys with OK but not super backgrounds. You need to present that way.

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